Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lincoln Memorial


Today is Presidents' Day and a good opportunity to share this tiny tribute to Abraham Lincoln. My friend Barb made it for my February birthday a couple years ago. Barb’s love of history and collecting Americana has inspired her to make several quilts featuring U.S. presidents.


It's a miniature medallion quilt, about 8"x10", with a portrait of Lincoln in the center.


I wonder if Barb had Ford’s Theatre in mind when she selected fabrics for each border or was it coincidence how closely they resemble the infamous scene of Lincoln’s assassination?



like the rich red carpet and brocade upholstery,

and heavy swag draperies of the Presidential Box.


The back of the quilt is a riverboat scene.



Incidentally, there's a connection between Mary Todd Lincoln and our little community of Batavia, Illinois. Ten years after her husband's assassination, she was deemed mentally unstable and committed to Bellevue Place, a rest home and sanitarium just blocks from my house.  Her stay was brief, a mere four months, but long enough for Mrs. Lincoln to earn a prominent spot in local lore.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Spiritual Gift


“If you are a craftsman…only look at your tools, your needle, your thimble…your scales, your measures, and you will find this saying written on them… ‘My dear, use me toward your neighbor, as you would want him to act towards you with that which is his.”              Martin Luther

When our family first joined Rejoice Lutheran Church, new members were encouraged to assess their spiritual gifts and apply them in service to the congregation. As a quilt maker, it wasn’t surprising that liturgical art was my forte. For several years, I put my sewing skills to work making banners for worship.

That was years ago, and my days of “making” are over. Nevertheless, I've felt a persistent calling to contribute one more banner to Rejoice. And why not? Just because I can’t make things, doesn’t mean I can’t make things happen!

My friend, Wanda Hanson, is a remarkable quilt artist, a genius with color and design, who blends fabrics from her palette of thousands, into extraordinary one of a kind pieces. When I saw Wanda's latest series of colorwash quilts, I knew the style would be perfect for Rejoice, where worship is contemporary and jubilant.

When I approached Wanda about making a banner, she declined. But at some point, my "calling" became her "calling" too. She eventually viewed the project as a personal challenge and an opportunity to share her God given talents with others.

We both had the Creation story in mind as inspiration:  

God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw the light, and it was good.  Genesis 1:3-4

as well as the evolutionary theory of the cosmos as the heavens and earth were being formed ~ a sort of Scriptural/Big Bang mashup!
Wanda cut, arranged and sewed hundreds of luminous batiks, 356 3"x 6” rectangles, in fact, each a different color and print, to create “Let there be Light”

69" x 93”

What better backdrop for worship could there be than this glorious riot of color, representing the Spirit inside us all?



double click to enlarge


Visit Wanda's blog, Exuberant Color.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Reality Check!


It’s been a long, lazy, uneventful summer… I’ve been sleeping a lot, reading too little, not writing at all, and taking way too much comfort in my own complacency. MS will do that to you when you start to think, “Is this as good as things are gonna get?”

I forgot that MS can still pull the rug out from under me at a moment’s notice, which it did a couple weeks ago. I haven’t had an exacerbation in years, so didn’t recognize the signs (severe pain in hands, wrists and arms) until my left hand (my only functional appendage) suddenly stopped working. That got my attention!

Three days in the hospital on IV steroids has restored function to my left hand. I can scratch my nose now, give a feeble wave, feed myself finger foods, type o-n-e  l-e-t-t-e-r  a-t  a  t-i-m-e with a pointing device on my computer, use the TV remote, and even hold a cup of coffee, if I’m lucky enough to get one. 

I've been assigned a series of challenging hand exercises to practice daily. Hopefully they’ll make me strong enough to erase “complacency” from my vocabulary and live each day with more purpose and intention. 


Friday, June 19, 2015

A Perfect Cup of Coffee



I love a good cup of coffee. Brew it strong. Serve it in my favorite mug with a splash of milk and a spoonful of sugar. I’m happy. 

What could possibly make it more pleasing? How about a colorful Mug Mat? It’s like a “pick me up” for my morning “pick me up.”


My friend Mary made mine from a vibrant array of half inch squares, tiny little pieces, almost too small to use. Isn’t it fun? Thanks, Mary. I'll raise my mug to you each time I use it!

Monday, April 20, 2015

What Goes Around, Comes Around



I’ve reached an age where the only thing I want for my birthday is not to be reminded of it, unless, of course, it’s with a birthday quilt from Barb. For that, I’ll admit to each and every one of my 59 years.

Imagine my surprise, when I opened Barb’s package this year, and found a block I’d given her for her birthday a few years back. “Wait... What?” It took me a minute to process that the block was now beautifully finished and back in my hands.


The pattern is from Applique with Folded Cutwork by Anita ShackelfordBarb echo quilted it by machine, with silk thread in the traditional style of Hawaiian quilting. Such lovely work!


The backing fabric represents Barb’s old stomping ground, New York City.

Barb, I'm humbled by your thoughtfulness. Thank you for your beautiful gift!


Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Easter!



Easter blessings, Passover greetings, Happy Spring!

About this time each year, I 
remember an Easter  project I’ve always wanted to try. The trouble is, think of it at the last minute. It actually takes several weeks of preparation in advance.

What I had in mind was an Easter basket filled with live grass and a display of bunnies and chicks, colored eggs and candies, all nestled amidst the fresh green sprouts…



a springtime vignette, like you’d find inside those panoramic sugar eggs we had as kids. Cute, huh?

Convincing my husband to help with crafty projects like this is the tricky part. His willingness to humor my flights of fancy goes only so far, and generally does not include arranging porcelain figures into whimsical tableaux. Fortunately, an Internet search for “Living Easter Basket” helped validate my request. "See? It's not a silly idea. Come on, it'll be fun!" 

So, three weeks before Easter, Jim planted grass seed in an old basket. Within a week, the tender shoots began to sprout. By Easter, the grass had filled the basket entirely and was practically ready for a trim. Perfect timing! 


I’ve paired my Easter basket with a basket quilt, made from blocks I won at a guild raffle, way back in 1987. You may recognize the pattern from Fons and Porter’s book, Classic Basket Patterns, 1984 (out of print).


In any quilt block exchange, there are always a few blocks that don't meet the standard size. I used them to make a pillow…


and label for the back of the quilt.

Raffle Baskets
36" x 51"
machine quilted by Stover Quality Quilting
1987

Wednesday, April 1, 2015